All over the world, the rise of eCommerce services has led to an explosion of growth in the logistics and parcel delivery industries. As global trends continue to point toward growth in online product sales of all kinds, that's unlikely to change anytime soon. For the most part, though, much of the growth has accrued to a few well-known companies like FedEx and DHL, who have the kind of scale necessary to handle an ever-growing tide of parcels traveling to various points all over the globe.
In Australia, however, the parcel delivery landscape is a little different. To begin with, it's a geographically large and diverse country with a fairly small population, but one that is embracing eCommerce with the same fervour as you'd find elsewhere. That reality fuelled quite a bit of consolidation in the local courier market in recent years, as global shipping giants sought a foothold in the market. That, in turn, helped to keep shipping prices high and has created a huge opportunity for smaller, local courier services to grow.
For entrepreneurs that are already building a courier services business in Australia, or for those who are considering doing so, here are four critical tips to stand out in a crowded courier market.
The Australian courier market has no shortage of competitive providers, but businesses in the country have a pronounced tendency to choose one courier service for their needs and stick with it. According to a survey conducted by comparison service Canstar Blue, 66% of businesses indicated that they always use the same courier service, with 42% indicating that reliability is their key motivation for doing so. That means the single best way for a courier business to stand out in the Australian market is to prioritize reliability above all else. It is the one company trait that will outweigh almost every other factor, and guarantee a steady stream of business for a courier service in the market.
Run Lean, Lower Overhead
In any market where large, multinational corporations are pitted against small, agile local competitors, the larger entities will always seek to suppress competition by offering the lowest prices possible. In the Australian courier market, this is a constant threat to the smaller firms in the space. The key to overcoming that threat is for the smaller courier service to take a page from the bigger players and implement lean business practices wherever possible, from embracing contract workers to leveraging discounted fuel cards to power delivery fleets. The good news is that smaller couriers need not cut delivery fees to the bone; they just have to remain reliable and at least somewhat comparable in costs to the larger competition.
Focus on Customer Service
In a crowded market, making a positive impression on a customer can mean the difference between repeat business and the client heading elsewhere. In the courier industry, aside from making a prompt, safe delivery of a customer's parcel, the best way to make a lasting positive impression on a customer is by providing stellar customer service. This is best accomplished by offering multiple means of contact with the business, from social media platforms to live operators. Customer service agents should be armed with the means to contact delivery drivers and to track the whereabouts of packages as they traverse delivery routes, as well as give specific guidance to customers on delivery timings and any pertinent information about their parcel's journey. In short, no effort should be spared to keep customers informed and happy at all phases of their contact with the business.
One of the major disadvantages faced by local courier services in the Australian market is the fact that the larger competition has access to advanced package tracking and logistics technology infrastructure that allows them to more effectively manage their delivery routes and provide timely information to customers. That doesn't mean that smaller courier services can't leverage technology to compete, however. Today, there are a variety of third-party courier logistics platforms that make it possible for even the smallest local courier service to operate their businesses with up-to-the-minute delivery tracking and resource management software, all without the expense of operating any costly on-site technology infrastructure.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, there's every reason to believe that the local courier market in Australia will continue to see solid growth in the years ahead. That means there will be no end to opportunities for entrepreneurs who enter the market and seek to differentiate themselves from the incumbent providers. They can do so by dedicating themselves to providing reliable, cost-effective delivery services backed by world-class technology and excellent customer service. Those are the qualities that will help any courier service stand out from the pack in the crowded Australian market, and will lead to years of profitable operations with plenty of room to grow.
About the Author
Andrej Kovačević is a dedicated writer, digital evangelist and a freelance writer. He is a contributor to a wide range of business and technology-focused publications, where he may be found discussing everything from neural networks and natural language processing to the latest in smart home IoT devices.